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Mastering Digital – Measuring Digital Marketing
In the fourth part of our “Mastering Digital” series, Antonie Geerts (Managing Director, Seditio Digital Consultancy & Training) looks at how to measure digital marketing activity in line with conversions.
The one thing that proves very difficult for businesses doing digital marketing is correlating activity with direct conversions. Questions like “We spent 5,000 euro on Facebook, how many conversions did we get out of this spend?” often remain unanswered or vague. Replies like “We engaged with 100 people or increased our likes by 30%” might sound impressive but translate to zero return on investment (ROI). In this article, I will explain methods that can help translate ROI from digital marketing activities using Goal creation in Google Analytics.
Although these examples are based around Google Analytics, any other advanced web analytics suite should be able to do the same. A working knowledge is recommended to implement these changes yourself. That said, even if you don’t have the necessary working knowledge, gaining an understanding around what is possible will make communications with your IT department or agency a lot easier.
Before we start translating digital marketing activity, we need to create a mini strategy around what we are measuring. In this case, we want to measure activity from a Facebook post.
The above post is what we need to measure. If we publish this post exactly as above, we can measure activity coming from Facebook through the Google Analytics Referral source “Facebook”.
The problem with this approach is identifying which particular post boosts the conversions because multiple posts on Facebook will still result in only a single Referral source in our Analytics. That’s why we first want to “tag” this link with some custom variables we can measure using the URL Builder from Google.
After you fill in all the fields, Google will generate a measureable “link”, which will look something like this:
If you open this link in a browser, some additional data will be sent to Google Analytics about the visitor. For example, with this link we know that the user:
- came from Facebook
- clicked on the link to the “1-year-in-business” article
- is part of the Facebook-Jul-2015 campaign.
Of course adding such a long link to a Facebook post might not look good, so drop the link in a URL shortener like bit.ly.
Tracking Your Conversions
Now we can measure in Google Analytics how traffic from this particular campaign reached a conversion. To do this, we will use an Advanced Segment. Start by opening your Google Analytics and click on the “Admin” link/tab at the top of the page. Under the “View” heading, you will find “Goals”.
Here we first need to setup what a conversion consists of – in this case, a conversion for my website would be someone who completed the contact form.
Of course in your scenario it could be someone who purchased a product, created a new account etc. So feel free to pick a template that matches your conversion type. After you select your Template, you need to set the “Type”.
This can vary, but in my case I’ve configured a “thank-you” page after the sign-up form is completed so I will use that.
After setting up the destination page, our Goal has been configured.
We then want to measure the social activity in Google Analytics. The easiest way to do this is by segmenting the traffic. A Segment is a type of filter that will be applied to all the reports in Analytics. This way we can filter only the traffic from our Facebook campaign and see how the users engaged with the website.
So, after logging into Google Analytics, click on the “Reporting” tab and then, under the “Audience Overview” heading, click “Add Segment”.
Now click “NEW SEGMENT” and create our “Facebook Segment”. The easiest way to get to our specific Facebook Campaign users is to set a “condition” that matches the Campaign name.
So in this case we click on “Advanced >> Conditions” and select “Campaign” from the dropdown menu (see screenshot below). Now we simply insert the campaign name we set up earlier with the URL Builder – “Facebook-Jul-2015”.
Once saved, you will see the campaign applied to your reporting data. You can now review the number of completed goals and measure the ROI for your campaign.
Keeping track of your social media – or any digital marketing activity for that matter – can look daunting, but keep in mind that each “paid” click will cost your business money and therefore it is vital you keep a close eye on your digital marketing spend.
Written by: Antonie Geerts, Managing Director, Seditio Digital Consultancy & Training
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